Sunshine House water project up and running


Retired plumber Keith Durward kindly volunteered his time and skills to help out with the project. He spent over a month onsite with Chumrarn imparting his specialist plumbing skills and knowledge. His mentoring not only ensures the work is done to Australian Standards, but also gives Chumrarn an insight into best-practice techniques to achieve quality outcomes that are rarely seen in Cambodia.

Sunshine House was built over a number of years and often with very poor quality materials (as these were the only ones available at the time) – as a result, we had pipes going all over the place. When we fitted the water filtration system and started to monitor its use we found we had some big leaks underground.  The only way to fix the problem was to simply start again and make it all one system. A big job, but had to be done.

With just a few taps in need of replacing, Stage 2 is now all but complete. This stage saw all of the old water piping replaced and fed into one full system, which now allows us to purify all of the water from across the property at one central location.




Stage 3 will see all of the sewerage linking into one place. This stage is the largest part of the project and involves trenches being dug right through the whole property. The digging works are currently under way and the workers are digging under the paths so the children have no problem with safe access and also so that we don’t damage the electrical cables that were laid along the sides of the paths.

Despite a couple of weeks of unseasonal rain and some very hard digging through clay we’ve made great progress  – the trenches have all been dug and we are only a week or so away from filling them  in and levelling the site.

I don’t think the kids will be happy when it is all filled in… they have loved the adventure playground with tunnels and pipes! Chumrarn will be pleased though, because he has to ensure the site is safe and this means rechecking the pipes each morning to make sure the little adventurers haven’t moved anything… well, boys will be boys and we have a lot of them!

After all the sewerage is collected in one place, it needs to be made safe and this is Stage 4. We have put in a series of settling tanks and will be turning the old duck pond near the road into a reed bed. This will then create an environment where nature does its thing, with the final result being clean water that can be safely disposed of.

We’ve dug the old duck pond out and it isn’t in good condition, so it will need to he remade but at least the hole is there.

Dr Piseth

Dr PisethDr Piseth –is a medical doctor who has volunteered at our Operation Nightingale  clinics since 2006 (when the program started).  In 2010, Gary was asked by Dr Piseth’s wife to speak to postgrad uni students about our work and volunteering. Soon afterwards Dr Piseth contacted us and became our first Cambodian volunteer.  Providing invaluable health care at our medical clinics, Dr Piseth continues to make a huge difference to the lives of the rural poor.

Tim & Trudy

IMG_2715Trudy and Tim James – are a Perth couple who packed up their belongings and headed to Cambodia to volunteer full-time with Awareness Cambodia in December 2011.  In only three years they have learned to speak Khmer and can drive motorbikes and cars along the chaotic Phnom Penh streets just like the locals! Much-loved team members within our Phnom Penh office, Trudy and Tim are currently in Perth awaiting the arrival of their first child.


DSC05634David Phipps –was sitting in the audience listening to Gary speak at a charity golf day in 2008. Inspired by what he heard, the retired engineer decided to visit Cambodia and see for himself the work we were doing. When he heard about our desire to build Graduation House he not only offered up his skills and gave us a donation to get the project off the ground, he took on the massive task of overseeing the construction of the complex himself. Every curve ball, problem and challenge has been sorted by David with grace and expertise.  He has contributed endless hours of his time and regularly travels to Cambodia (using his own funds) to keep an eye on building progress.  It’s fair to say that without Dave’s drive, expertise and commitment, the building complex would not be what it is today.

Brenda Au

Brenda Au – is a nurse and Health Manger at Sunshine House. Brenda, who lives at Sunshine House with her husband Paul DC 129 -468 (2)and three children, is our longest-serving volunteer. With a desire to make a difference, Brenda moved from her homeland in Ireland to Cambodia and since January 2003 she has nursed children with HIV, mended broken bones and provided TB and hepatitis treatment for the new arrivals at Sunshine House. In short, Brenda is a loved and treasured member of our team.

Graduation House Approaches Completion

Awareness Cambodia Invitation

Graduation House is the final step in the education journey for our students and scholarship recipients – a place where students can stay and be cared for while they complete their tertiary or vocational studies.

We’re all proud of what we have been able to achieve over the last 18 years and the new building is a great testament to this. But we would not have been able to realise this dream if not for the incredible commitment from our Awareness Cambodia team, the support of our Cambodian networks, the generosity of our local and international partners, and of course the guidance of numerous Cambodian government departments and their representatives.

We look forward to you joining us in Phnom Penh for the grand opening. If you would like to attend, please rsvp to [email protected] and we will ensure you receive all relevant information.


English Second Language

boy learningIn early 2014 we welcomed our new Project Coordinator, Huot Teng, to the team.  Having studied English at university, Huot is an experienced educator and administrator, he taught students at a number of international schools and supervised teaching staff. Huot is responsible for overseeing the running of the project, liaising with the Education Department and building the capabilities of the local Cambodian teachers.

Class room hands

Each month the students are tested on their skills, where there is a lot of friendly competition to rank highly – especially as the top achievers are rewarded with a special prize. We’ve found that anything featuring ‘Angry Birds’ is particularly popular!

As English becomes more widely used and more important in Cambodia, our ESLPS project will help to prepare young Angry Birds 2Cambodian children to achieve a high level of education and establish a secure future for themselves and their families.

Visit our e-store this Easter

With 20 inspiring gift ideas  to suit a variety of budgets, our online store is a one-stop shop. Simply choose your tax deductible gift, pay securely online and we’ll send you a card to personalise and give to your loved one.

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Not only can you buy a unique gift for family and friends, but you can help make a real difference. For less than the cost of a box of chocolates you can keep a child safe from mosquito-borne diseases with a mosquito net, while a blood test  which can lead to lifesaving treatment costs less than a fluffy toy bunny.

Visit our online store  now and give an Easter gift that gives twice! 

imagesCA659ZVOFood for thought: Over Christmas instead of unwanted jocks, socks and yet another scented candle you purchased $2000 worth of blood tests, guitars, school packs and mosquito nets for children in need.

Meet Somphos

Meet Somphos 7

What have you been doing for part-time work?

I’ve been working as a Teacher Assistant at Asian Hope International School for two years.

What is your plan for when you finish university this year?

I am now thinking about what kind of job I want to do. My qualification is broad, so I can work in many different areas. All I know right now is that I want to work in an organisation that helps people and has the same values as Awareness Cambodia.

What do you like to do for fun?

I don’t have much time for fun, as I am busy with study and work. When I do have time I enjoy spending time with friends, watching movies and reading.

What music do you like?

Romantic songs (English and Khmer), rock ‘n’ roll, Chris Brown, Hillsong and Selina Gomez.

What is the best thing about living at Graduation House?

Sharing a room with my sister (Sophi), watching TV and our very comfortable sofa!

 What is it like sharing a room with Sophi?

I love it! She cleans a lot – more than me! We have a bit of fighting – normal sister stuff, but not very much – we mostly get along well.

What are some favourite memories of growing up at Sunshine House with Awareness Cambodia?

The first time we walked to school was special, climbing trees, always with my friends, growing flowers in the garden, walking to the village and being taught how to cook and clean [she admits she didn’t appreciate learning to cook and clean until later].

Change is happening!

There’s been lots of activity at Sunshine House lately:

Our thanks go to the team of 24 students and staff from Swan Trades Training Centre who not only built a performance stage and wooden cabinet for the audio system but also updated and improved the electrical systems. Our kids have been making good use of the stage – playing music, performing traditional Khmer dances and putting on dramatic shows. bus 2

Getting to and from school is now so much safer for our kids. The new Sunshine School Bus has made the journey much better for our students, who can now concentrate on their studies without worrying about travelling to classes.  We’ve already begun making plans to build a new garage toloo house our yellow bus.

Also, the boys’ dorms now have toilets on the upper floors – making any night-time calls of nature much easier and safer to answer.

Another enormous change happening is the renovation of the kitchen. We prepare over a thousand meals each week in our kitchen – so the old one was definitely in need of a makeover!  The renovation included new tiles, work benches, sinks, cookers, a pantry and a new paint job. Amazingly, our staff managed to continue preparing meals for our students by working around the renovations taking place. With a new kitchen, everyone is sure that the famous Sunshine House Fried Chicken is going to taste even better!

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Finally, the House of Progress received more than 20 lovely wooden chairs from the  2013 Impact team.HOP new chairs (1) (1)

The dining chairs are used not only during eating but also for English classes and meetings – making life a lot more comfortable for our students.

A very big thank you to everyone who has helped us to provide these valuable resources.



Our Scholarship Program begins!

With strong support from the Tim Purcell Cambodia Scholarship Fund and Australian medical professionals, Graduation House welcomes four scholarship students to the program. Two students will be studying agriculture and two will train to be the doctors of the future.
Our inaugural students are now living at Graduation House and have begun their university studies.

Meet our future doctors and agriculture specialists

Students pictured in front of their homes before coming to Graduation House


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